10 posts categorized "American Cinema"

December 02, 2012

DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES — CLASSIC FILM PICK

COLE SMITHEY

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Days of Wine and RosesThe first film to tackle alcoholism in a serious manner, “Days of Wine and Roses” is a tragic social drama of timeless effect. It remains one of the most heartrending cinematic interpretations of addiction ever produced. No matter how many times you watch it, it’s never an easy experience.

Adapted by JP Miller from his 1958 “Playhouse 90” teleplay, the story follows the rise and fall of a young San Francisco couple exceptionally played by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. Two finer screen performances you will likely never see.

Joe works as a glib public relations executive at the same firm where Kirsten is employed as the secretary of the head of the company. For Joe, social drinking is part of the job.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero's Journey—Part 28 |  Council on Recovery

“Hit me again” is his catchphrase to bartenders and waiters. Although they get off on the wrong foot when Joe mistakes Kirsten for a party girl he invites to on a harbor cruise for one of his rapacious clients, Joe corrects for his blunder the next day.

Alicia Malone Intro -- Days Of Wine And Roses (1962) - Turner Classic Movies

An enchanted dinner date allows Joe to induct teetotaler Kirsten into the joys of drinking with a brandy alexander that appeals to her love of chocolate. A post-dinner visit to Fisherman’s Warf sets the tone for the relationship. Kirsten quotes poetry. “They are not long, the days of wine and roses.”

Days-of-wine-and-roses

Kirsten’s preference to ignore the dirty water at their feet in favor of looking out to the moonlit bay is inversely mirrored in Joe’s constant attention to the bottle he swigs from. Not even Kirsten’s radiant beauty can distract Joe from his obsession with alcohol.

Joe momentarily exhibits a streak of ethical conduct — however tentatively — when he hints to his boss that he doesn’t want to function as a pimp anymore. Joe and Kirsten get married and have a baby girl. But Kirsten’s decision to follow Joe’s alcoholic lead results in her accidentally setting fire to their plush apartment. The catastrophic event snaps Joe into recognizing their drinking problem. He moves the family to Kirsten’s father’s home for a do-it-yourself rehab program, helping with the old man’s home nursery business.

Index of /wp-content/uploads/2009/08

Two months of hard work and sobriety comforts Joe into believing that a little bender won’t hurt. He pays for his transgression with two months in a hospital sanitarium. When Joe reaches out for assistance, Jack Klugman’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor Jim Hungerford arrives to guide Joe on the road to recovery.

Daysofwineandroses

Although director Blake Edwards is heavy-handed in his use of multiple variations of Henri Mancini’s theme song to underscore the drama, the movie goes to depths of humiliation, betrayal, and pain that might otherwise break the audience without the shallow musical commentary. The love that Joe and Kirsten share acts as a cruel tool for the reversals they continue to suffer. The film’s potent tableau encompasses the daily struggle of all addicts, whether recovering or still caught in the grip of addiction.

DaysofWine

Not Rated. 117 mins. 

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

October 03, 2010

CAMERAMAN: THE LIFE & WORK OF JACK CARDIFF - NYFF 2010

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

COLESMITHEY.COMEssential viewing for fans of the cinematographer's craft, Craig McCall's fascinating documentary about one of the greatest cameramen of all time is a film to be cherished.

Jack Cardiff began his film career in 1918, as a four-year-old child actor. By the time he was a teenager Cardiff was working as a camera assistant.

In 1939 he operated the camera for his first feature film, "Main Street of Paris."

Cardiff's bountiful output with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, beginning with "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" (1943), allows Cardiff to exhibit his virtuosic camera abilities.

Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff - Independent Cinema Office

Jack Cardiff intuitively knew how to take full advantage of the Technicolor technology he helped usher in with "Wings of the Morning" (1937), the first feature film shot using the process.

Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hearing Cardiff talk about working with actresses like Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe is a treat. Jack Cardiff was an accomplished painter whose passion for art informed his uncanny ability to achieve visual compositions of supernatural beauty and light.

Audrey Hepburn photographed by Jack Cardiff, 1956 | Audrey hepburn photos,  Audrey hepburn, Hepburn

"African Queen," "War & Peace," "Black Narcissus," and "The Red Shoes" are merely a few of the visually stunning movies from Jack Cardiff's resume that are referenced in this entertaining look at a true master of the cinema. Unforgettable.

Not Rated. 90 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 28, 2010

TAKERS

COLESMITHEY.COMWritten by a committee of four screenwriters, "Takers" is a nondescript heist movie where the only thing less developed than its one-dimensional characters is its inexcusably silly plot.

Misguided director John Luessenhop wants his audience to wonder in amazement at the theoretical higher intellect of his well-dressed twentysomething gangsters who talk like they're taking a semester away from Harvard to pull off a big armored car job in downtown Los Angeles.

Takers (2010) - Movies on Google Play

Never mind that they have only five days to assemble the team and plan the robbery because, evidently, there's not really that much planning to do for such an undertaking.

Movie Review - 'Takers' - They Shouldn't Make 'Em Like This Any More : NPR

Judging from "Takers," armored cars should be getting emptied out daily by feckless thieves. Compared to a great post-modern heist movie like "Reservoir Dogs," "Takers" should have been scooped out of the gutter and tossed away in a little plastic bag before ever getting financed.

MOVIE REVIEW: Takers

To see talented actors like Matt Dillon and Marianne Jean-Baptiste stoop so low is a travesty.

Rated PG-13. 107 mins.

1 Star

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

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